Exhorbitant Fees, Harsh Economic Climate: Six Commercial Radio Licence Applicants Withdraw

Harare, July 1, 2014-Six applicants out of 18 shortlisted for radio licences have pulled out of the race after failing to pay the $7 500 statutory public inquiry fees on time or for other reasons, the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) said last week.

BAZ chief executive, Mr Obert Muganyura, said the six applicants that pulled out are Lupane Radio, Bukisa Services (Lupane), Mosie Radio (Victoria Falls), Masego Multimedia (Bulawayo), Vox Media Productions (Harare) and AB Communications (Mutare).

“The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe wishes to advise the public that out of 18 applicants that had been shortlisted to appear before the authority in public inquiries, six have pulled out,” said Muganyura.

He said the six applicants would no longer be part of the process “due to non-payment of statutory public inquiry fees within the stipulated time frame or due to withdrawal from the licensing process”.

He also said public hearings that had been scheduled for Bulawayo, Victoria Falls, Masvingo, Zvishavane and Gweru between July 1 and 4 had been called off.

Mr Muganyura said the concerned public meetings would no longer be held on the dates initially published by the authority due to “unforeseen circumstances that have necessitated a change of dates”.

He said members of the public and the applicants would be advised of new dates in due course.

“The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe sincerely apologises to the public and the applicants for any inconvenience caused,” Mr Muganyura said.

Radio legend Ezra “Tshisa” Sibanda is part of the race after Skies FM, which is vying for a commercial radio licence in Bulawayo, was shortlisted with three others for a final round of selection.

Sibanda, a former Radio 2 (now Radio Zimbabwe) DJ, is a director for the radio project.

Two other radio stations, Skyz Metro — fronted by Qhubani Moyo and Cont Mhlanga and Skyz FM owned by Trevor Ncube’s Alpha Media Holdings, will also vie for the single commercial broadcasting licence.

Mhlanga and Moyo are also behind the Breeze FM radio project seeking licensing in the resort town of Victoria Falls.